Wednesday, July 29, 2009

1.14 Special

Follow along! The episode guide for “Special” is in Finding Lost, pp. 87-91.

Special. It’s a word that’s now been applied to many people on the island, but most often, John Locke. Walt was the first special person on the island that we knew about – he can make things happen just by picturing it. Locke figures out his talent instantly, which is a little strange, and then hones it to show Walt how he can use his abilities. Now in light of season 5 most of this episode seems standalone because the Walt storyline is that one giant thing they’ve sort of just dropped, and it seemed to be building up to something extremely important. But then the writers got stuck in the practical problem of an actor growing up too quickly when the little character was supposed to stay the same. But I really REALLY hope that Walt is somehow addressed in season 6.

Fun things I noticed:
• Michael hasn’t yet perfected his “Waaaaaaaaaaalt!!” cry. Go here to find out how it’s SUPPOSED to be done. Heh...heh...
• When Locke tells Walt to picture the spot where the knife will go in, Walt looks at it, and then Vincent turns his head and looks at the tree. It’s as if the dog in this scene is psychically helping Walt out.
• Baby Walt still makes me melt.
• Susan = EVIL. She says they’re not married and therefore Michael has no right to the child. In what universe?! They’re common law, for goodness’ sake, and if he’d decided to fight it he would have. I found the gender reversal in this episode really interesting; if Michael had been the breadwinner, he would have moved the family to Amsterdam. But instead it’s Susan, and she won’t drag Michael’s ass along for the ride. She clearly had her eyes on Brian already. I know Michael’s one of those characters who’s not a favourite with a lot of fans, but I’ve always had a soft spot for him. Taking a child away from his father is just unforgiveable to me.
• The Bonneville of Death!!!
• Charlie’s scene with Claire’s diary is still a comedy classic.
• Re: the unopened letters... Susan = EVIL!!!
• You know, I think Brian’s a special kind of shitty for abandoning his grieving son, and letting him meet his father and new guardian completely alone, with NO ONE there to help him through the transition process. I asked in my book why Walt doesn’t call Brian “Dad,” but now I watch it and think, “Why the hell would he?”
• I’ve always believed Michael does Walt a huge disservice by suggesting Brian wanted to keep him and now Michael’s taking him against his will. Way to make the kid resent you right out of the gate, and make him spend the rest of his life thinking he drew the short straw.
• When Michael says to Walt, “I’m right behind you,” I remember at the time thinking for the first time that a major character was about to be killed.
• I still think that polar bear is horrific CGI.

Things that have new meaning:
• Locke discovers Walt’s specialness, and Michael threatens to kill him. And then... Walt is kidnapped by the Others. Presumably, they, too, sensed Walt’s specialness, and when they took him away to Room 23, they probably gave the same test to him that they did to John Locke – putting the objects in front of him – to find out if maybe he was meant to be their leader. And if you have no idea what I’m talking about... check out the mobisode, “Room 23” on the season 4 DVD. (Or look in the Season 4 Finding Lost book, page 136, for a synopsis.) But now, with Locke appearing to be inhabited by some evil spirit at the end of season 5, one wonders if he could have had anything to do with Walt’s kidnapping...
• At the time I assumed Claire’s comment in her diary, “I HATE HIM,” referred to Thomas. But could it refer to Christian? Or could it be prescient? She mentions the Black Rock in her diary... how is she seeing the future? How could she know things on the island that she hasn’t seen yet? Is it possible there’s a reason she was with Christian in season 4? What role will she play in season 6?


J.W. said...

I agree that the writers better tie up the loose threads in Walt's story the last season. It would be nice to see a flashback/flashforward or whatever of Locke visiting Walt before dying.

Anyway, the Michael/Walt stuff was great the first season; that's probably why Walt became a focal point by the end of the season. Too bad they had to write both characters off the show. I liked this episode.

Marebabe said...

Nikki, I totally agree about the CGI polar bear. Every time someone would gripe about the CGI submarine in season 5, I'd think, "Nowhere near as bad as that polar bear in season 1!"

Joan Crawford said...

About Susan: in the out-takes reel, she calls Walt "Will" - it is hilarious! Look it up on youtube if you haven't seen it.
I wonder about Walt too. Here he was, the water dripping form his mouth - backwards talking kid - "special"- and now...nothing? I hope they tie that up and Libby too.

Kate said...

My biggest thing with Walt is: Seriously, what's with the birds? :|

Anyway, as far as the episode goes, I actually took notes for the first time ever. (I'll admit it right now--I couldn't actually bring myself to rewatch Hearts and Minds so this is the one I started with--I just can't deal with incest. I know it's not really incest....BUT IT IS.)


**I noticed an interesting line from Michael when Walt asks him what they're doing dragging cushions out of the wreck and he says "This is us taking control of our own destiny". Obviously destiny is a HUGE part of the future on Lost so it was fun to see one of the first hints of that underlying idea of destiny vs. free will. Oh Michael, if only you knew...

**It really struck me how extremely, overboard reactionary Michael's character is, especially when he tells Locke: "I catch you with my son again--I'll kill you." While the events of Season Two seemed shocking at the time (Libby and Ana) we really should have known from the beginning that Michael is a man of action, he says things and he means them and he really doesn't seem to have much of an idea of what the things he says and does really mean or if they're really justified or necessary. He kind of find him fascinating--it's a similar sort of complex as Kate's where neither of them really seem to ever see the consequences of things--even when they're happening! They just sort of go and do. I think it's a fascinating complex. I always kind of liked Michael...even after he shot Libby and Ana. I don't know, each of the characters has a weak point and they all succumb to it at some point so why should Michael be hung for his simply because the repercussions were worse than others? He genuinely seems to have some kind of mental complex that makes him...lose a grip on reality. I don't think he's coldblooded, he's just passionate and blinded by obsession. Jack's doing basically the same thing right now trying to blow up the island...

**I hate Susan with such a passion. SUCH a passion. I know she's a background character and not really even worth hating as passionately as I do but I do anyway. Locke I actually feel sorry for, Locke I appreciate for his complexity and I think he's fascinating even though I hate his personality but this woman I just HATE. I have no words...she's awful, the horrible things I've been wishing upon her, oh!

**the polar bear was pretty bad. With all the amazing makeup artists and attention to detail in the set design and insanely awesome bar this show has set--you'd think they'd manage to get a hold of an equally awesome special effects team...but I guess nothing can be too perfect so there had to be something to ground the show or else I'd have to wonder if it was made by some higher-being with unending knowledge...

Paithan1 said...

Yes, let's tie up the loose ends with Walt. I remember thinking during that first season that this boy was going to figure into the mythology of the show and then...

And man, I hate Susan too! What could they have gone through to make her up and leave the father of her child? She never asks him to come...I believe in rights for all parents and she takes that all away from Michael--so, it takes only a few days for her to die...ha! (That wasn't very nice but neither is she.)

I think Michael was trying to be a good man by not throwing Brian under the bus (I would have) but I think it shines a good light on Michael (for the audience.) Michael seems like a real jerk a lot but he does everything for his son...because now he can (no more Susan to stand in his way.) His whole character arc is about doing what's right by Walt...even in this last season, he was trying to make amends.

And that polar bear did look crappy...

Paithan1 said...

Claire...writing/dreaming about the black rock (Black Rock)...I just wish I understood what was going on with much seems to be tied in (Rousseau's message, Jacob & the MIB waiting for the ship, etc.)

JennM said...

Joan Crawford, you reminded me about Libby! She doesn't seem as pivotal as Walt in the overall sense, but I really want to know her story!
I agree that Walt's significance should be developed. I've mentioned a few times that I am not expecting a "pretty package tied with a bow" ending for Lost, but I would like to see Walt's significance explained.

Joan Crawford said...

@Jenn, I know, right? I do expect some closure on Libby - if they don't explain this "random-could-be-imaginary" woman I will be upset! She can't just be some made up thing to temporarily hold the story together...can she? Why was she at the loony bin? How does she know Whidmore? Whose side is she on?

Jazzygirl said...

Hmmm...great new stuff to think about with her diary. I agree completely about the I HATE HIM line. And I'm glad I'm not the only one who has a soft spot. Well, at least now I do. Re-watching this, I got a bit choked up. Michael sacrifices his own relationship with Walt in order to spare his feelings (in regards to Brian). You can tell he really believes he's doing the right thing. And all Walt does is disrespect him, etc. And to know how it all ends...Walt pretty much disowns him, as does his own mother. He goes back to make ammends and he dies. So sad....

Anonymous said...

Yep. Susan = evil. Michael = decent guy who was screwed over by evil Susan. She was the breadwinner in the family and clearly did not respect Michael for his inability to bring home as much bacon. When she had a chance to hook up with a guy on her own "level," she dropped him like a bad habit, then intimidated and bribed him into accepting the situation. Fortunately, karma slapped her on the fanny and smiled on Walt, who will be a better person for being raised by Michael instead of the evil, neglectful Susan and the step-father who didn't want him.

I can't bring myself to dislike Michael, even after he betrayed his friends and shot Ana-Lucia. (Frankly, though, I was glad to see her go.) His shooting of Libby was unintended and he clearly felt horrible about it. The "real" Michael is most apparent in his sweet, awkward scenes with Sun (some of my favorites). Michael is an artist; sensitive, observant and appreciative of the natural beauty in the world. Unfortunately circumstances forced him to take actions he never would have normally considered. And I think he redeemed himself wonderfully at the end. I didn't realize until the re-watch how much I've missed him.

Kate said...

I agree Jazzy! Everyone has a sad story I guess on Lost, but I think it's a little unfair how many people hate Michael so much when he really isn't any worse than the others. With Lost, one really has to separate actions from motives in order to find the essence of a character--in our world killing makes someone "bad" but in the world of Lost, things aren't so black and white (haha--black and white, two sides, oh my gosh it's EVERYWHERE!) Anyway, I'll probably be frothing at the mouth in hatred once of Michael once we get to season two, but for right now I really, really miss him and it makes me sad to think that everything he does is mistaken for heartlessness when really it's all just a father's love. :(

On a completely random note--I just have to share this with someone because my mind is melting and you guys are the only ones who will understand. I just looked up "Alpert" on wikipedia and have since been a wild goose chase through pages and pages of insanity that ALL connect back to Lost. These writers are INSANE! I've started with a physicist named Bradly Alpert who developed some three dimensional model for solving some physics equation thing--so I clicked on the equation and started reading about electromagnetics--curvature of time and how overlapping variables cancel each other out in some sort of mathematical loop thingy (part of "Dr" Alpert's solution) and a ton of stuff about constants--and THEN, I was hit with a line saying it was one of four equations grouped together and another was called "Faraday's Law of Induction"! I'd read about Faraday already but to see it there in this Alpert article was insane...I kept reading with more stuff about time, sinusoidal waves, inversions, electromagnetics, seismology, perpetual cycles, light, constants and variables and THEN I hit the "Minkowski space" additive and when I clicked on this it talked about Einstein's theory of special relativity and how in "Minkowski space"--the three dimension are combined into one with the additive of time to create the dimension of "spacetime". Reading further I came to an article about Minkowski's work in the idea of spacetime and something called a "light cone" that defines how past, present and future stand along a three dimensional "inverted cone" (a cone at the top facing downwards and another cone on the bottom facing upwards--the point in the middle representing the present moment) with an axis for space and an axis for time and a plane situated at the meeting point between two cones which represents the perspective of "present".

Crazyness. My mind is whirring...why, oh, WHY didn't I pay more attention in physics!?! (Oh yeah...because I was asleep after staying up all night watching LOST!)

I hope none of you actually read that. I just needed to get it off my chest so I'll be able to sleep tonight. =P

Ummm, back to the regularly schedule program.... >_>

Fred said...

How cool the Michael story with Susan is a imperfect mirroring of the Thomas/Claire story. Thomas and Michael both artists ending up without their sons--finally Michael does regain Walt. Makes me wonder if Michael was supposed to raise Walt, given he ends up with his grandmother. Aaron finally ends up with his grandmother, after Kate returns him before boarding Ajira 316.

Also the scene (later episode next season) where Michael frees Ben and shoots Ana Lucia, then wounds himself mirrors Sayid's killing of his superior and wounding himself in a bid to free Nadia.

As for Walt's arc in the greater story that is LOST, I suspect it's over. That's why Locke never asked him to return, just let him get on with his life.

Rebecca T. said...

Susan = EVIL even more, because she wasn't always the bread winner. Michael STOPPED HIS ART so he could work in construction to PUT HER THROUGH LAW SCHOOL! So she was perfectly happy to accept his money, but as soon as she was on her feet and he's going through a tough time, she threatens him, dumps him and takes away the one thing he really cared about. EVIL!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

You totally see shades of Hurley's daddy issues with his reaction to Michael being a parent: "Nah, he hates it." He totally believes that his father hated being a father, too. :( poor Hurley.

Locke give off some totally creepy "possessed" vibes here when he's talking to Michael about Walt. His line, "As long as he's here, Walt should be allowed to realize his full potential," totally gave me the creeps.
And then I thought, hah, perfect explanation. Walt's off the Island, therefore he can't realize his full potential. His story is over (though I would LOVE it if they would bring him back or at least explain a little better in S6).

Michael was one of those characters I couldn't make my mind up over. I could understand a lot of the things he did and I could sympathize with his past and his desire for a better future, but sometimes he's just an out and out jerk. As a book lover, watching him burn that comic always makes me screaming mad and I yell at the screen. EVERY TIME!

And I totally laughed when Michael tells Walt that Brian wants him to have the dog, because of his little face quirk. It's his one tiny piece of revenge and you can tell he totally hopes that Brian loved the dog.

Locke's strong support of Michael and telling Walt to listen to his father is even more powerful when you think of all he went through with his father - the father he barely knew. It's quite impressive that he doesn't pass his father's sins off onto everyone else.

And Charlie with Claire's diary is so absolutely adorable and hysterical. I could watch it multiple times in a row :)

Rebecca T. said...

@Katey: LOL! That totally sounds like something I would read and do.... Oh wait, I did, except with the phoenix and literary stuff instead of with science :P Oh Lost, you make our heads stretch.

Kate said...


I know, huh! Do you know what you people have DONE to me? I am literally logging into my old physics-help account and going to look some of this stuff up. Oh my gosh...I'm going to need so much therapy after this is all over!

I totally agree with you about Michael burning that comic book! Burning literature...that's inexcusable!

Hahah! about Brian and Vincent--I'll bet he was hoping that, and probably worse. =P

humanebean said...

As I read through the comments on the rewatch, I'm reminded of the brilliance of LOST's writers many times over. In particular, even in the early episodes, they sketched out characters in sharp two-dimensions, allowing us to feel that we grasped them fully. The flip side of this is that we invested in them more completely, projecting our feelings onto them easily, liking/disliking them instantly and criticizing/defending them according to our own needs.

Because of this strong connection, the innovative storytelling involving flashbacks and later flash-forwards worked more powerfully, forcing us to re-examine our feelings about the characters and reinforcing our bond with them. We get to watch characters we resent and despise (hello, Nikki and Paolo) get offed, fear for our friends, cry over our emotional favorites (Oh, Charlie) and triumph in the ascendancy of our chosen ones.

This also explains why some early viewers abandoned the show in Seasons 2 or 3 when they felt poorly served by the shifting characters and/or plotlines that didn't properly address viewers 'needs' for those characters.

And, it explains why, 5 seasons in, so many of us are still at it - sifting through blogs on the web, rewatching the episodes and talking about it incessantly.

@Katey - forgive the potentially stupid question, but have you discovered Lostpedia yet? The ultimate compendium of All Things LOST - well, the penultimate, actually, since we all know that the ULTIMATE guides to LOST are Nikki's excellent books and blog. If you don't have them yet, you NEED to get them!

Gillian Whitfield said...

I lost count of how many times Michael yelled WAAALLT! I lost count at 12. I think he yelled it 5 times in the opening minute and a half. will tell me.

This episode was good, but I really dislike Michael. He basically only uses the same lines over and over and over again.

Hopefully, because of the added hour in season 6, Walt's specialness will be addressed.

The Shout said...

Having watched Season 1 again, I just realized that the first and last words are Michael shouting 'Waaaalt!'.

From all the interviews I read, the writers decided pretty early on that Walt's growth would be a problem and planned the whole kidnap plot line. I can't believe his story wont be resolved in Season 6.

We now know that it was time travelling Locke who told them he was special. I wonder how The Others knew Walt was? In fact the whole thing with The Others knowing so much about the Losties needs to be resolved. I know The Flame station was used to communicate with the outside world but the info they had on Sawyer for example went far beyond what you would think they'd have access to.

Fred said...

I keep thinking that with the hang over of various story arcs, like Walt, Aaron, Charlie (baby), Libby (not so much), and questions about Dharma, the Others (like where did Tom come from), I could imagine the producers of LOST had a vision of restarting the show, with different cast members a few years after it finished the sixth season. This would be much like the Star Wars saga, or even Star Trek with the Next Generation. I doubt they'd do anything like that now, but with a number of unfinished story lines, you wonder what was in the plans.

As for Susan being evil, abandoning Michael and taking Walt away. Well, this is LOST. We all thought that about Ben's father, until we saw how hard he tried in Season 5. He regained some sympathy--I think he was just a hard-luck guy. I am sure they could have written a lot of plot lines for Susan painting her in a better light. Still what we got is what we got on her.(Walt didn't seem so keen on goping with Michael. Let's be honest, would you want Michael as a dad? On the island he seemed pretty ineffectual).

There is always something about Locke trying to recruit people. First it was Charlie, then Boone (but even before how easily did he accept Ethan's help), and then this thing with Walt (let him experience his potential). It seems Locke needs accolytes to fulfill his destiny or whomever he is.

Ali Bags said...

@Nikki - you forgot to put in the link for Michael's 'Waaalt!'

Was it this:

Anonymous said...

There was a woman who gave Desmond her dead husbands boat named Elizabeth, could she be Libby?

Joan Crawford said...

@Anonymous, I have wondered the same thing too...I think it is Libby but I am afraid we may never know :(

J.W. said...

@Anonymous: The woman Desmond met in the Coffee shop? Yes, that was Libby.

Casey S. Pitman said...


Benny said...


Wow! What a long time. Am trying to catch up to meet this week's deadline... 5 episodes a night starting on Sunday and ending with Exodus II by 7:50 on Thursday, just in time for the post to go live!

Anyways.... I'm reading through ALL the season one recaps and comments and it's all great!

I had a particular comment on this one which, I don't recall being mentioned. Here goes: when Walt is studying the birds of Australia, he mentions it's stupid because they live in Australia and shouldn't they rather study "... I don't know, the birds of Egypt?"

Isn't that chilling... Egypt in the fist season!

And @Katey: Darlton did say that Richard Aplert is in reference to someone but not necessarily who we think it is. Most people thought the real Richard Alpert, and after that starting going with RA. But your mention of Dr. Alpert seems to bring light to the subject!

Like puzzle pieces...

Will be adding tidbits through every episode from the Pilot on.

The Rush Blog said...

It really annoys me when people justify Locke's actions with Walt. I understand that he meant well, but Michael was right. Walt was a ten year-old, not an adult. And Locke had no business teaching him how to use a machete without Michael's permission.

Juanita's Journal said...

He kind of find him fascinating--it's a similar sort of complex as Kate's where neither of them really seem to ever see the consequences of things--even when they're happening!

You're talking about nearly every major character on the show. Why view Michael and Kate as the only two with this particular flaw?

Let's be honest, would you want Michael as a dad?

He was ten times the better parent than many others on the show. Or have you forgotten?

What is it about Michael that leads many "LOST" fans to regard him in such extreme negative light, in compare to the other characters? It's not like they are better than him.

Juanita's Journal said...

He genuinely seems to have some kind of mental complex that makes him...lose a grip on reality.

Let me get this straight. Michael has some kind of mental complex that makes him lose a grip on reality . . . and not the other major characters? Including one John Locke? I say bullshit to that.